Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ingredient Elimination & A Trio of: Hot Cocoa Almonds

I've been making sugared almonds for a long time. I can't remember where I initially found a recipe, nor do I ever make them exactly the same way each time, but they are a go-to for me when I need to use up some egg whites.

So,  since I had 3 egg whites from my Grown-Up Dirt Pudding, I decided to make a trio of roasted nuts, starting with Hot Cocoa Almonds, followed by Chai Spiced Almonds, and ending with Savory Pecans. I realized shortly after I planned out these recipes that the 1st two relate to hot beverages, and was disappointed with myself that I didn't transform the pecans into something coffee related, or given the emerging season, hot cider related. Oh well, next time.

Hot Cocoa Almonds (makes 2 C)
  • 2 C raw almonds
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1 Tbsp pure cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch salt
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place the almonds in a medium mixing bowl. 
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg white and the vanilla extract.
3. In a separate bowl, mix together the sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and salt.
4. Pour the egg mixture over the almonds and mix until well coated.
5. Add the sugar mixture to the almonds and mix until well coated.
6. Lightly spray a baking sheet with oil. Spread the almonds into a single layer on the baking pan.
7. Bake for 10 minutes. Stir, and bake for up to another 5 minutes, watching closely for the last few minutes--these burn easily.
                                      Almonds, sugar mix, and egg whites, ready to go

Kitchen Note: This recipe will only be as good as the cocoa used. I used Dean & Deluca, with good result.

Verdict? I was disappointed with the first bite, but the finish has a strong cocoa flavor that builds as you eat more and more almonds. I was very hesitant to use much cocoa for fear it would burn, but next time I will increase to 1.5 Tbsp. I'm definitely making this again, I'd like to make a spicy version with cayenne, as well as a version with toasted coconut. Yum.

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